Leveraging generational diversity: A Millennial’s view

One of the Clarus team’s greatest strengths is our diversity. Our team members possess a myriad of professional, educational, and personal backgrounds. From a review of related research and observation of our clients’ teams, we know teams that value the diversity of their members outperform their peers. At Clarus, we also recognize that generational diversity is an integral part of a healthy and innovative organization.

Much has been made of the potential for generational conflict in the workplace particularly with regard to the youngest generation in the workforce, the Millennial. However, the goals of Millennial and other generations are not necessarily at odds. Like the Great Generation, the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, Millennials want to be effective and make a difference in the world.

I am a Millennial (born between 1982 and 1994). Like my generational peers, I value opportunities for intrapreneurship and an environment where creative ideas can be shared and contributed freely. Also, workplace flexibility, work-life balance, and time set aside for volunteerism and civic involvement are all important to me. Like all Millennials, my interaction with the world is shaped by the technology and communication systems we use so readily. The Millennial experience is distinctly enriched and complicated by information technology and globalism.

Now, how do you maximize the promise and capability of the Millennial generation without alienating other generational groups? It’s how you make any great collaboration bear fruit (see Liza’s essay). The collaborators have to know and respect one another. Spend time developing team cohesiveness. Invest in training on generational differences to heighten awareness of how we all are a product of time and place. Through our training protocols on diversity, including generational differences, we’ve seen clients create happier, more productive teams.

Structure and implement mentorship programs that allow young people like myself to gain from the wealth of experience held by more seasoned professionals. In turn, encourage us to share our unique perspective and knowledge. Invest in our professional development and help us understand why completing our knowledge and skill sets make us more competitive and valuable to the team.

Finally, make time for casual intergenerational interactions. Sometimes generational gaps are not as big as they seem. Most everyone loves a good cup of coffee and a chat.

Understand and make room for what people care about. Knowledge of generational differences can help employers build stronger teams.

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